How 17-year-old Robert Plant almost replaced Roger Daltrey of The Who

News 25/05/2020

During the turbulent year for The Who in 1966, they were on thin ice as tensions steadily grew among the bandmates.

This was when 17-year-old Robert Plant became interested in taking over Roger Daltrey's spot as The Who's lead singer.

The possibility came about after Daltrey flushed drummer Keith Moon's pills down the toilet that forced him to take a break from The Who for some time. Tensions quickly dissipated when they realised 'My Generation' was climbing the charts.

The band had faced similar situations over the years such as "verbals jousting, underlying tension, hugely violent eruption, settle down, back on stage" according to Far Out Magazine. The worst was when Daltrey took off for "some extra shagging", putting guitarist Pete Townshend and bassist John Entwistle in charge of vocal duties. This has left the band hanging on a very thin thread.

The band had to cancel their Worcester and Kidderminster gig after Daltrey failed to show up. Among the attendees was 17-year-old Robert Plant who, after seeing the vacant spot behind the mic, decided to bring up the courage to put himself forward to fill the role.

"[Plant] came to see us three nights in a row and offered himself for the job, as did Steve Gibbons when he came to see us and Roger wasn't there," Townshend recalled in 1990. "Obviously none of them thought I was any good [at singing]!" Eventually, Townshend decided it was better to stick it out with Daltrey.

Plant would then go on to be one of the founding members of Led Zeppelin in 1968 with Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham. The band would outsell the Beatles and became one of the most iconic rock and roll bands of all time. Over the years, Plant and Daltrey also kept a good friendship despite Plant's attempts to undermine Daltrey's role in The Who.

"Robert's got incredible courage," Daltrey once said. "I know a lot of people kind of say that well he copied you because you had the long, curly hair, and then he comes along with the long curly hair…"

He went on to say that Robert was just being himself and Daltrey wished he was as tall as him.